King salmon fishing derby dates set for mid-June

The annual Wrangell King Salmon Fishing Derby has been set for two weekends in June.

Rather than have the competition run over a full two weeks from mid-June to the beginning of July, it is scheduled for June 16, 17 and 18 — Father’s Day weekend — and the following weekend June 23, 24 and 25.

Fishing derby committee members met May 30 to discuss details and even whether or not to hold the event.

“People are going to be really disappointed if we cancel ours,” said Luana Wellons, assistant executive director of the chamber of commerce, which organizes the derby. “People have already been (asking) me about when it’s going to start and if we’re going to have one. I’ve been answering them, as of right now, yes, there will be a derby.”

Petersburg usually holds its salmon derby over Memorial Day weekend, but that event has been canceled until further notice. Sitka this year split its derby over the Memorial Day weekend and last weekend. Ketchikan typically holds a coho salmon derby in the fall and Juneau is planning the Golden North Salmon Derby for Aug. 11-13.

The Wrangell derby returned last year — its first time back since 2017, with four years of cancellations due to weak king salmon runs.

Last year’s derby had more than 200 entries, though only 57 fish were weighed in.

Citing predictions of low salmon return and due to the chamber being staffed only by Wellons at the moment, the committee decided to break the derby into two weekends over three days each. They will be looking for volunteers and a worker to help with the weigh-in station and other tasks.

A reduction in the entry fee was discussed but ultimately the committee decided to keep the fee at $25 per person.

The committee will be seeking prize sponsors before announcing categories and prizes.


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